Friday, July 20, 2007

Motus, Catholics and a Waning Summer

Phew. Time has just breezed by me again. I guess this time I do have an excuse for not posting in over two weeks: I started a new job (a crappy one, but an honest one) and my wife is pregnant (cop-out).

A lot has happened in the last two weeks, especially if you are a Catholic. The long expected motu proprio was released, finally, to applause from some and revulsion from many, especially the media and the media-friendly. And just after the motu proprio, the Vatican released a document which basically reaffirmed the 2,000 year old Catholic dogma that there is no 'Church' outside the one, true Church found by Christ Himself.

So where to begin? I admit that I haven't written my Bishop to demand a Tridentine Mass just yet. I understand that it will take some time for my local priests to learn it and even more time for my Catholic peers to be comfortable with the celebration of a Mass so foreign to our current liturgical norms. But once I know there is a priest who can celebrate a Tridentine Mass I will demand/attend. Why? I'm no fan of Latin particularly, although as a self-styled pragmatist I do support the return of widespread use of the universal Catholic language. I think my interest in that Mass has to do with one of my experiences at WYD 2005. I met a young priest who was a member of the Society of St. Paul, which is an order that is permitted to only celebrate Mass in the Tridentine Rite. This priest told me that there was no better liturgy in which to contemplate the sacrifice and the gift which Christ gives at every Mass. It's been two years now, and I'm getting ancy.

Of course the press, and some unremarkable Bishops, had a field day creating a public litany of complaints after the release of the motu proprio. Most felt it was a 'conservative' reform of the reforms of Vatican 2, which, to anyone with a brain, it isn't, because the Paul VI Mass has nothing to do with directly with Vatican 2, and everything to do with the need introduce the vernacular and congregational participation into the liturgy, a need which was first articulated by the famous liturgist Romano Guardini in the early 1920s, some 40 years or so before the Council.

And if you think it stopped there, you we're wrong. As I mentioned before, the Vatican followed up the motu proprio with a statement on the nature of the Catholic Church and other Christian churches. The true faith, according to us Catholics, resides in the Catholic Church. Other Christian churches thus are not Churches in the same sense as the Catholic Church, but 'ecclesial bodies' in which the Holy Spirit resides and graces are found, but which lack the full efficacy of the Catholic Church. So basically, the Vatican decided to drop this oft-forgotten facet of Catholicism just after it had already dropped the motu proprio bombshell. While it made for a busy two weeks for journalists, bishops, and commentators with an axe to grind with orthodox Catholicism, it also got everything out of the way at once.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I must admit, I had emailed the Victoria Cathedral to ask whether they had plans concerning implementation of the MP. No reply tho. Perhaps 'cause I mentioned I was from out of town, but considering returning. I was definitely not pushy or forceful, just asking for interest.